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Synthwave Album Review: "Behind Closed Doors" by GeoVoc

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

"Behind Closed Doors"

"Behind Closed Doors"

Initial Impressions

GeoVoc’s Behind Closed Doors album is vocal synthwave that’s full of emotion, warmth and genuine expression. GeoVoc’s gentle, strong voice, his heartfelt and deeply emotional lyrics and the shining synths, pulsing drums and melodies that delicately brush over the ears all combine to create a sincere and touching listening experience with musical integrity.

The first observation I’ll make about Behind Closed Doors is that GeoVoc has a unique voice. It somehow manages to be gentle, imbued with power and deeply expressive all at once. He can softly caress the ears or let his voice climb and soar, emotion pouring out of it and into the music around it. There’s a heartfelt quality to his voice that helps him express the sincerity that’s written into his lyrics.

The songs that GeoVoc has written are intense expressions of loss, hope, nostalgia and faith. He manages to strike right at the heart with them and touch something pure and essential. There’s an aching quality, even in the songs that are ultimately positive, which expresses the truth that even in happy moments, there can be a little sadness. While I may not share GeoVoc’s clear faith, I still feel his expression of it deeply when I listen to his music.

The synth work on Behind Closed Doors has a shimmer and a glow to it. It is warm and yearning as arpeggios whirl, lead synth lines call out with emotive power and everything is suffused in a gentle light. It sits on a strong foundation of bass and drums that shape it and add the right amount of motion and energy to the synth elements.

I’d also like to mention the guitar and sax work on the album. The guitar adds some gritty energy and there’s some intricate playing in solo moments as well. The sax work adds to the expressive and emotional quality which fills the songs. Both elements simply expand the sonic canvas of Behind Closed Doors.

My Favourite Songs Analyzed

“Scars to Heal”

“Scars to Heal” has a strong, full sound that gave me a good impression with deep pulses of oscillating bass and warm waves of analog synth lapping over them. I’m drawn to GeoVoc’s equally warm voice that has a depth of emotion that touches as it expresses the feeling in the lyrics. I also enjoy the lead synth melody that shines and shimmers, along with the caressing nature of the vocal melody. There’s both uplift and melancholy in the music here.

There is a gentle sincerity and a quality of genuine emotion in the lyrics of this song. GeoVoc sings that “everyone means so much to me. I just want to cause some relief. From the cafes to the late night arcades, I just want to make someone feel okay” in spite of the fact that, “I hide the aching inside. The demons in my mind.”

Sincerity again shines through in the words, “I pray my scars will help you to heal. I pray my love will help you to feel” and that he wants nothing in return but “I just don’t want to hurt you any more.”

He goes on to say, “You don't need what you think you do. You just need answers. You need the truth” and ultimately what is really needed is “just love to bind the broken parts.”

“This Fragile Life”

There’s a strong opening to “This Fragile Life” with tightly packed warm synths that all rise together over another layer that shimmers gently underneath them. The mid-tempo beat pulses smoothly into the music as GeoVoc’s equally smooth voice carries another delicate and slightly tragic melody over it. It seems to me that he really feels what he’s singing about as the song dances and glows.

This is a song about life’s changes, about holding on to what matters and about sacrifice. The inevitable passing of our lives is expressed in the lines, “It all turns to a blur in time. We were just kids in junior high. Now we've found love. We’re nearing 25.”

There’s a sense of struggle in the words, “I’ve fallen a thousand different times. I'm trying to grow to leave the past behind” and as the chorus says, “ Hold close the ones you may have forgotten. When you were low and you hit the bottom. They were the ones who stayed and fought for you.”

There is an expression of hope and faith in the lines, “I’ve fallen a thousand different times. Still your grace has paid my price.”

Ultimately the song urges, “Oh leave it all behind. I can stand with you by my side. Leave it all behind.

“Consider the Cost”

“Consider the Cost” is full of rapidly shining and shimmering sounds that all interlock and run together into a single bright line of sound as an oscillating bassline glides and flows through the track. The emotional depth of the songs continues here and on this track is added to by the sax that is imbued with rich expression in its warm sound. GeoVoc’s voice is equally expressive and I enjoy the intertwining synths that spin under the leaping, crying sax solo.

There’s a feeling of loss and aching leavened with hope in the lyrics of this song as the narrator asks, “How many promises did you make? How many times did you lose your faith?” There is a hurt in the words, “I was in every storm of your life. But you pushed me away from your eyes.”

Our narrator asks pointedly, “Was it worth all of the cost? Was it worth it all? Was it worth all the pain that it caused?”

That pain comes through again as the questions, “How many steps have you taken? How many secret sins so enslaving? Why are you so ashamed of me?” are followed by the stark statement, “I bore this world to set you free.” A hand of hope is held out as the narrator says, “I’ll set you free. Come to me.”

“Change the World”

There’s more energy in “Change the World” as spinning arpeggios and throbbing drums open the track. They bounce and move in a slightly uneven pattern. I like how the vocal melody mirrors that pattern in the jumping quality it has, while still being touched with a hint of melancholy. Once again, GeoVoc’s singing is front and center on this song.

Raw feeling fills the lyrics of this song when the narrator sings, “I run into your arms. You keep me warm. I cry into the sky. Feeling worn. If I could change, you know I would. If I'd just break, I'd change the world.”

Deep empathy flows from the lines, “So many people I see fighting alone. Trying to find an anecdote. If I could just, help them see that with you they could be free” and he extends a hand to offer an idea of salvation in the words, “They’d know your peace. They'd know you.”

“Tomorrow’s Scars”

“Tomorrow’s Scars” opens on quick rushes of intertwining synth that leap out into the track in shivering motion. I enjoy the depth of the beat’s throb along with the rippling quality of the rapid oscillations of bass. I’m drawn in by the warm, delicate lead synth melody that shines along with GeoVoc’s soft singing. There is still the trademark flow to the track as now shining arpeggios whirl and that lead melody dances and floats over the breaking drums underneath it like waves on rocks

This song mixes nostalgia and a wish for things to stay as they are in the face of inevitable change. GeoVoc sings, “The feeling's all the same. I'm remembering those days when we weren't so afraid” and adds that “this time is all a frame of a place we wish could stay.” The song questions why this change must be inevitable.

There is an aching feeling in the questions, “Will today bring tomorrow's scars? Will we wish we had changed and opened up our hearts?”

The lines, “All the memories we try to save in picture frames. The dark that we can't seem to escape” are so poignant as is the sincerity in the line, “I just wanted to show you the way to such a beautiful grace.” Ultimately all our narrator can do is say, “No more. I’ll love you more.”

“Joys in Disguise”

Easy deep bass and slowly wheeling, turning arpeggios are joined by the breathy, reedy gentleness of sax on “Joys in Disguise.” I find the quality of the beat quite interesting here and the way that the sax adds more weight to the feelings being expressed in the song. There’s a broken quality to the chorus with the joyful sadness that only the sax can create moving behind it. The guitar that comes in also adds more support as it calls out along with the sax, the two instruments moving together.

This is a song about seeking truth and trying to find a way through the challenges of life. The opening lines talk about how certainty can be shaken. They say, “They told us everything would be alright. That we'd grow up and we'd learn how to fight. That we'd always remember these precious times and we'd find love we'd find true life.”

Life doesn’t often work that way and this is clear in the words of the chorus, “But sometimes it feels like nothing is right. It's hard to fight. Like fallen stars it's hard to shine when life keeps hiding joys in disguise.”

People are always seeking fulfillment which is clear in the lines, “Maybe what you've been looking for is a father with open arms, a friend who won't use you, and a God who won't forsake you.”

“Summer Night Escapes”

“Summer Night Escapes” is a song full of aching nostalgia. The vocal melody is uplifting but again has a tinge of something sadder under it. The drums drive the track along with the throb of bass over them. The guitar coming in adds a slightly grittier but still warm edge while that sparkling lead synth supports GeoVoc’s singing. The track breaks to shining bursts of synth and the guitar soars and climbs out and over those bursts, now intricately soloing and flying along.

The nostalgic ache for simpler times and lost loves comes through in this song. GeoVoc cries out, “These are our days. Summer night escapes. Hold me tight my darling till we're not lonely.”

Wanting things to go back to an easier time is a deep human yearning and this is clearly expressed in the words, “Summer days and mall arcades another's game. There's a feeling we can't seem to slip away.”

I enjoy the imagery in the lines, “Midnight rides and moonlit skies. Your hand in mine. There's a fearing of what we left behind” as the song harks back to, “those simpler times. Those simpler days. Those simpler ways."

Final Thoughts (What's the Verdict?)

The sincere emotion, musical tenderness and lyrical expression on Behind Closed Doors make it an album that I find touching. GeoVoc’s voice has such an impassioned and expressive quality and he accompanies it with a musical backdrop that is good to listen to and also enhances the earnest expression that permeates every aspect of the album.